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August 28, 2005

The Word Made Visible
Posted by John M. Ford at 02:32 PM * 64 comments

… and so Teresa, having seen the e-mail, said unto the scribe, “Shall we enter this into Making Light, that it may be known among people, and also that you will cease in the effort of doing the whole [of the]* thing yourself, and return unto the text that is under contract?”

The object of the game is to create the Table of Contents for the Graphic Bible,** an adaptation of the major bestseller with words, illustrations, and sound effects in specialized lettering. Because this is a conceptual book, the actual appearance of the stories left to the reader’s imagination, creators who are no longer among us are permitted; these should be designated by an asterisk.***

A couple of other rule-like objects:
— Feel free to “assign” a book already on the list. If we should get a complete coverage, we might select the best from any multiple entries and make the thing more widely available. (I can think of a couple of ways to get some cash for the CBLDF from this, but that’s a long way off. Allow it to inspire you, though.)
— If you want to combine some of the “serialized” books (e.g., I and II Kings) go right ahead.
— Commentary on your choices is allowed. I did it, after all.
— cf. last entry, commentary on other people’s choices is allowed, too. But you knew that.
— Slipping in creators who haven’t done comics is also allowed (same point as two up). After all, there’s an implied “yet” in the statement.
— There is no sixth rule. Or the other five, really.

For those who need a refresher on The Books of The Book (Haggai? The Epistle to the Chelmians?) here’s a link to an RSV with Apocrypha. If this version does not suit, in the Netiverse they made engines, invented by cunning geeks, to compare strings and score hits.

Selah, y’all.

*Translation Uncertain.
**”The Comic Bible” has ambiguous connotations. The author’s avatar as standup prophet might someday do “66 Books in 6.6 Minutes,” but stay not thine own breath.
***q.v. entry on the Book of Judges.

And off we go:

Genesis, Stan Lee (script) and Jack Kirby* (art)

Exodus, Alan Moore (script) and Kevin O’Neill (art)

Leviticus, Julie Schwartz* (script) and Curt Swan* (art)

Deuteronomy, Scott McCloud

Judges, Rene Goscinny* and Albert Uderzo [for the Gideon material, naturally]

Ruth, Jill Thompson

Second Book of Samuel, Neil Gaiman (script) and Michael Zulli (art) [This is the one where David commits an impeachable offense]

Esther, Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner (script) and P. Craig Russell (art)

Job, Will Eisner* [I mean, who else?]

Psalms, divers hands (script), Yoshitake Amano (art)

Proverbs, Larry Gonick

Ecclesiastes, Rachel Pollack (script) and Jean “Moebius” Giraud (art)

Lamentations, Neal Adams

The Gospel of St. Mark, Frank Miller

The Gospel of St. John the Divine, Charles Schulz*

The Acts of the Apostles, Shelly Mayer* [uh…]

The Epistle to the Romans, Howard Cruse

The Epistle to the Ephesians, Eddie Campbell

The First Epistle to Timothy,Howard Chaykin

Jude, John Kovalic

The Book of Revelations, Clive Barker (script) and Bill Sienkewicz (art)

The Apocryphal Book of Tobit, J. M. deMatteis (script) and Steve Ditko (art)

And from tnh:
Jonah, Keith Giffen

Comments on The Word Made Visible:
#1 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 03:34 PM:

Mr. Ford, thy link functioneth not and is an abomination before me.

#2 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 03:38 PM:

Link made whole. Much rejoicing.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 03:54 PM:

Thank you for getting me to look away from the slow-motion train wreck.

#4 ::: Dawn O ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 03:56 PM:

Ezekiel: Philip K. Dick*

#5 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 03:57 PM:

Job, Will Eisner* [I mean, who else?]

Mike Mignola.

#6 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 04:19 PM:

The Gospel of Thomas, Grant Morrison (script) and John J. Muth (art)

The Song of Solomon, Joss Whedon (script) and Mark Smylie (art)

#7 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 04:30 PM:

Leviticus: Scott Adams

#8 ::: randallp ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 04:53 PM:

Is it sad that I know all of the "creators" listed, but have never read the book in question? Oh, to be a member of that seventies generation that knows more about pop culture than religion is to live in blissful ignorance...

#9 ::: Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 05:05 PM:

Genesis: Cal Schenkel(art) Douglas Adams*** text

#10 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 05:53 PM:

BTW, I would so fork over my hard-earned cash for the Barker/Sienkiewicz Revelation.

Other possibilities for that one: Mike Carey, Garth Ennis, China Mieville scripting; Ted McKeever, Dean Ormston, Marc Hempel on art.

I'd also love to see Guy Davis illustrating the exorcism in Mark 5. Davis gives good monster, but he's much better at intimate monsters than apocalytic ones.

#11 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 05:59 PM:

You are aware, I presume, that some of these stories have already been done-- for instance, Kyle Baker has already done the Second Book of Samuel.

#12 ::: Berni ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 06:16 PM:

I'd much rather see Nina Paley do Tobit. The bird crapping in the eye and the demons that attack the bridegrooms on the wedding night call for a light touch.

#13 ::: Steve Burnett ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 06:17 PM:

If I might join in with two suggestions:

Bel and the Dragon
(script) DG Chichester and Margaret Clark, solely for their 8-part series _St. George_ from Epic Comics. Art, I'd like to see Michael Zuli.

(Personal note: I believe I first learned of the existence of the Apocrypha by reading about the book of Bel and the Dragon in Andre Norton's _Dragon Magic_ when young.)

(script) Rachel Pollack, (art) Jon J. Muth

Habakkuk being notable outside the Apocrypha as the codename for the WWII project to build artificial icebergs for use as aircraft carriers.

#14 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 06:24 PM:

The Gospel of Luke, Kurt Busiek (script) and John Bolton (art).

#15 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 06:39 PM:

Psalms, Edward Gorey. Book and art. Set and match.

#16 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 07:02 PM:

The Book of Revelations, Barker is a good choice, but I'd have wanted to see Hunter S. Thompson (script) and Ralph Steadman (art).

Wouldn't be too far from their normal fare, anyway...

#17 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 07:13 PM:

Bill Reinhold for the art in Ezekiel.

#18 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 07:32 PM:

Spider-man's Greatest Bible Stories seems to have vanished from its original site (, but there are a few cached copies of some of the panels floating around:

#19 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 07:42 PM:

I have actually done both Exodus (in my picture book PRINCE OF EGYPT and Ruth (retold in MIRROR, MIRROR:40 Tales for Mothers and Daughters to Share").


#20 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 08:35 PM:
Job, Will Eisner* [I mean, who else?]

Eisner first, but Sergio Aragones qualifies, yes?

#21 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 08:49 PM:

...I mean, Sergio would give Job a dog, you know?

#22 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 08:58 PM:

...and sorry to continue retreading on other peoples' territory, but my knowledge of cartoonists dwarfs my knowledge of the Bible -- but I think Arthur Suydam would also be good for Jonah, for the paintings.

#23 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 09:42 PM:

...I also think Bill Waterson would be a good alternate on Genesis. At least we'll find out what happened to the dinosaurs (assuming it wasn't cigarettes that did them in).

#24 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 09:59 PM:

Jonah: Harvey Pekar (script) and Robert Crumb (art)
Judith: Jaime Hernandez
Ruth: Gilbert Hernandez
Revelation: Winsor McCay* (who, I just learned, was not named "Windsor")
Joshua: George Herriman* (lots of rock-throwing)
Definitely no one is better for Job than Will Eisner.

#25 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:00 PM:

True, Mike, but then think of Gary Larson's Noah story.

#26 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:09 PM:

Glenn -- Gonick has done a large chunk of the OT (assorted stories, much of I & II Samuel, and I-can't-remember-which Gospel -- the one with the snit fit over the ointment).

Surely von Daniken gets Exodus, and Velikovsky gets Ezekiel -- or is that \too/ obvious?

#27 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:30 PM:

...has no one else mentioned The Picture Bible? A quick search shows the name Iva Hoth attached to it. Genesis was pretty cool but it went downhill from there. It is time for a reworking.

I want to see Patrick Farley finish his Apocamon Revelations, so no new suggestions there. But I'd offer Jonah to Dave McKean.

#28 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:30 PM:
Definitely no one is better for Job than Will Eisner.

...but we know this because A Contract With God was Job's drama with the payoff of Frim Hersh's fate, and to a lesser extent because of the middle story on "Invisible People." Eisner gave us an idea how he would treat the debate between Job and the local religious authorities.

When I reconsider the "conceptual book" aspect of the exercise, I have to change my preference to Sergio first. I want to see how he would adapt the debate and agendas represented.

#29 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:51 PM:

Definitely no one is better for Job than Will Eisner.

Ah, see, I'm not sold on this. I think Eisner would've gotten the angst of it dead-on, but there's also the possibility he would've rendered it kinda... cute.

My own biased reading of Job leans heavily towards cosmic horror - a story about vast powers playing games with human lives as pawns. I'd want to see a Job visually heavy on desolation and loss, which is why I thought of Mignola as a fine match for it - and, plus, he's dealt with themes of defying Hell already, after all.

Plus, the thought of Mignola's gaunt, haunted Job half-stepping out of those thick shadows to say "I am a brother to dragons and a companion to owls" gives me a shiver of delight.

#30 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 10:56 PM:

And for a living artist to adapt Leviticus, I'd suggest Dave Sim, except that I suspect he'd enjoy it a little too much.

#31 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 11:27 PM:

This whole thread is making me think of The Brick Testament. For those who haven't seen it, it tells some modest-sized chunks of the Bible with Lego blocks and characters.

The section on 'The Law' is highly recommended, to get a handle on some of the forms of God's Law those wacky Christian Dominionists would like to restore.

#32 ::: Andrew Sigel ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2005, 11:42 PM:

> The Acts of the Apostles, Shelly Meyer* [uh…]

Surely that credit should read "Sheldon Mayer*, N.C.S."

Remind me: how often did the apostles have to sit in the corner...?

#33 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:03 AM:

Well, there were Paul and Silas.

#34 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:10 AM:

I think we should branch out into apocryphal books and give Bill Watterson The Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

#35 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:28 AM:


Habakkuk is one of the Twelve Minor Prophets, and definitely canonical.

#36 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:30 AM:

How about Al Capp* for The Song of Solomon? All those goats and foxes and bunches of grapes.

And Walt Kelly* for Proverbs.

#37 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:39 AM:

Avram: Apocrypha already included (see end of original list). Not that they would have been forbidden anyway; no book banners 'round here.

#38 ::: Zed ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:43 AM:

There is Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament for which Alan Moore scripted the Leviticus adaptation and Neil Gaiman did several others.

#39 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:27 AM:

I'd want divers hands for Genesis as well. There's just so many stories there. Different touches for the Creation, Noah, Joseph and his brothers (I want Devin Grayson for that last one, and maybe Roberta Gregory for the Lot bits.)

I now badly want to see Rachel Pollack take on Ecclesiastes. That would be beautiful.

Who gets Kings? And what books do Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis get? (I'm remembering Spider Jerusalem overturning the tables in the religious convention.)

By the way, Rob Liefeld at one point took on the Crucifixion. (see here, about halfway down the page) There really are no words. Except, possibly, no.

#40 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 10:44 AM:

I thought of Edward Gorey for Genesis. Then somebody mentioned George Herriman.

The image of Eve beaning Adam with the apple filleth my heart with peace.

#41 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:05 AM:

Um, call me dense maybe, but I feel like I'm missing a major point. Why are deceased artists being nominated for the project? Or does that mean that they have already illustrated said books?

#42 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:13 AM:

Because it's not a "project" to actually do the books; it's to consider various writers and artists in relation to the material -- sometimes seriously, at least as often not.

#43 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:34 AM:

For non-Apocryphal books, I think I'd like to see Grant Morrison's Exodus even better than Alan Moore's. Maybe with Marcelo Frusin on the art.

#44 ::: John C. Bunnell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:48 AM:

Four suggestions:

Esther: Esther Friesner (script), Lynn Johnston (art)

Job: James D. Macdonald (script), Trevor von Eeden (art)

Daniel: (a) Phil Foglio, OR (b) J. Michael Straczynski (script), Keith Giffen (art)

#45 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 12:54 PM:

Exodus, Art Spiegelman.

#46 ::: Rob Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:44 PM:

Eighteen years ago, in 1987, Knockabout published OUTRAGEOUS TALES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT. Contents were:

Sodom & Gomorrah - Dave Gibbons
Leviticus - Alan Moore & Hunt Emerson
The Book of Judges - Neil Gaiman & Mike Matthews
Jael & Sisera - Neil Gaiman & Julie Hollings
Jephthah & His Daughter - Neil Gaiman & Peter Rigg
Samson - Graham Higgins
Journey to Bethlehem - Neil Gaiman & Steve Gibson
The Tribe of Benjamin - Neil Gaiman & Mike Matthews
The Prophet Who Came to Dinner - Neil Gaiman
& Dave McKean
The Story of Job - Kim Deitch
Dear Daddy - Carol Bennett & Julie Hollings
Elisha's Miracle - Brian Bolland

#47 ::: Neil Rest ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 01:45 PM:

Shame on the groupmind for not having gotten to Matt Howarth yet!

How about the Maccabees? I've only skimmed this whole thing, so I haven't pondered properly on it all yet.

#48 ::: Jim Flannery ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 02:13 PM:

Job: R. Crumb

#49 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:32 PM:

It is becoming apparent that we need an auxiliary volume collecting various takes on one book:

Odd Jobs

#50 ::: Jerol J ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 03:58 PM:

I think this is the rather obvious and only choice:
The Book of Revelations: Neil Gaiman &
P. Craig Russell

#51 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:43 PM:

Macabees: Joe Sacco
Esther: CLAMP Studio

#52 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 05:55 PM:

P. Craig Russell could certainly do a gorgeous Revelation. As could Dave McKean. Come to think of it, no reason Clive Barker couldn't do the art as well.

(Though I wonder if the Apocalypse might not be best rendered in Jill Thompson's manga style. Take that, Premillenial Dispensationalists!)

I don't know who I'd pick to script it, but I'd love to see Genesis rendered by Miguelanxo Prado.

#53 ::: L.N. Hammer ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:12 PM:

Oddly enough, I think Kazu Kibuishi would do a faboo Jonah.


#54 ::: Naomi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 07:52 PM:

Why is Numbers missing from the original list of books? The whole census thing gives it a bad name, but in fact it includes plagues and wars and holy wars and God zapping people with fire and people getting swallowed up by earth and impalement during public sex and -- neither last nor least -- a talking donkey.

I nominate Bill Watterson, on the theory that most of it reminds me of Calvin's fantasies and the non-human observer is the most sensible entity by far.

#55 ::: Dawn O ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2005, 11:39 PM:

Jeremiah: text and art by Jhonen Vasquez

#56 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 04:41 AM:

mike, ...I mean, Sergio would give Job a dog, you know?

...& god would take it away.

#57 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 05:45 AM:

"OOOOOH! The Antichwist is coming! I mean, weawwy this time! Not at aww like the othew times! I have seen Him, and He has nine heads, thwee of them wike goats, thwee wike bats, two wike giwaffes, and one wike Siw Kenneth Bwanagh! His hooves awe shod with smaww kayaks, and on his thigh is witten 'No Bweach, Wawm Iwon!' Tewwibwe is his wath, and he don't smeww too good either. Wun fow the hiwws, while they are still there!"

[Thought balloon:] I wonder why that fellow is in such a hurry?

-- Groo: the Apocacheesedips

#58 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:44 PM:
...I mean, Sergio would give Job a dog, you know?

...& god would take it away.

Sergio would imagine a dog God would leave Job with.

No one's mentioned Berni Wrightson? Job for everyone, on me.

#59 ::: Mike ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2005, 08:56 PM:

Hey, no posts for 15 hours?

As the thread winds down, may I impose on y'all on a related topic? I started pages in May categorizing superheroes in their Jungian/Myers-Briggs temperaments.

A few of the temperaments filled up quickly, like ENFPs and ISTPs. But a few are scarce of superheroes, like INTJs. For those of you who share the interest, could you go take a look and see if you can make suggestions? Thanks.

#60 ::: EliB ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2005, 12:14 AM:

Too bad Chester Brown's Gospel adaptations are so hard to find - they're amazing.

#61 ::: Jon Olsen ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 01:05 PM:

Numbers by Bil Keane (picture all those looping dotted lines)

1 & 2 Chronicles by Jeph Loeb

Joel and some of the other minor prophets by Brian Michael Bendis, in that messy black and white style. Or put Bendis and Maleev on the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew would need lots of wordy panels.

#62 ::: Dan Lewis ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2005, 07:14 PM:

The first half of Daniel by Scott Adams, with Daniel the long-suffering cube-slave, his wise-cracking friends, courtiers as evil pets, and Nebuchadnezzar the PHB.

#63 ::: eyelessgame ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2005, 12:45 PM:

I nominate Dave Sim for 1 Kings -- I'd like to see his Elijah.

#64 ::: Dave Bell wonders why a post on such an old thread ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2011, 04:21 AM:

Spam probe? It doesn't look to have any connection to the rest of the thread.

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